Acculturative Orientations Among Hispanic/Latinx Caregivers in the ABCD Study: Associations With Caregiver and Youth Mental Health and Youth Brain Function

Meca A, Peraza JA, Riedel MC, Hale W, Pettit JW, Musser ED, Salo T, Flannery JS, Bottenhorn KL, Dick AS, Pintos Lobo R, Ucros LM, Greaves CA, Hawes SW, Sanchez M, Gonzalez MR, Sutherland MT, Gonzalez R, Laird AR, Biol Psychiatry Glob Open Sci 3 (4) :785-796 (2023).


BACKGROUND: Population-based neuroscience offers opportunities to examine important but understudied sociocultural factors such as acculturation. Acculturation refers to the extent to which an individual retains their cultural heritage and/or adopts the receiving society’s culture and is particularly salient among Hispanic/Latinx immigrants. Specific acculturative orientations have been linked to vulnerability to substance use, depression, and suicide and are known to influence family dynamics between caregivers and their children. METHODS: Using data from first- and second-generation Hispanic/Latinx caregivers in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study (N = 1057), we examined how caregivers’ acculturative orientation affects their mental health, as well as the mental health and brain function of their children. Neuroimaging analyses focused on regions associated with self- and affiliation-based social processing (ventromedial prefrontal cortex, insula, and temporoparietal junction). RESULTS: We identified 2 profiles of caregiver acculturation: bicultural (retains heritage culture while adopting U.S. culture) and detached (discards heritage culture and rejects U.S. culture). Bicultural caregivers exhibited fewer internalizing and externalizing problems than detached caregivers; furthermore, youth exhibited similar internalizing effects across caregiver profiles. In addition, youth with bicultural caregivers displayed increased resting-state brain activity (i.e., fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations and regional homogeneity) in the left insula, which has been linked to psychopathology; however, differences in long-range functional connectivity were not significant. CONCLUSIONS: Caregiver acculturation is an important familial factor that has been linked to significant differences in youth mental health and insula activity. Future work should examine sociocultural and neurodevelopmental changes across adolescence to assess health outcomes and determine whether localized, corticolimbic brain effects are ultimately translated into long-range connectivity differences.